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The Erie Canal and Western Development Essay

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The Erie Canal and Western Development
To what extent did the construction and use of the Erie Canal impact the amount of western settlement and expansion in the United States?


A. Plan of the Investigation:
The focus of the investigation is to what extent did the construction and use of the Erie Canal impact the amount of western settlement and expansion in the United States? The study will analyze how economic opportunities that began in 1825 with the completion of the Erie Canal, affected the westward immigration of settlers. The study will look at the various jobs that arose with the completion of the canal and the changes in demographics that came with economic opportunity. An increase in economic potential also led to political changes that occurred between 1817 and 1830 that allowed for an increase of immigration and settlement in the west. Finally, the transition of the view on the west from a rugged and remote terrain to a civilized and developed landscape will be discussed and its impact of settlement will be analyzed.
B. Summary of Evidence:
The completion of the canal in 1825 led to a two way trade system. Boats would travel East with supplies from the Great Lakes and the surrounding territory and return with settlers and passengers travelling West, which became an extensive business (Johnson 375). The economic success and prosperity of the Canal also provided motivation for the construction of railroads West, including the transcontinental railroad (Seelye 264). The Erie Canal determined the flow of commerce in the United States for over a century (Seelye 252).
In 1825 with the completion of the railroad, the territories of present day Northern Indiana, Northern Illinois, Michigan and other western terri...


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...e. Buffalo, NY: Print. House of Matthews & Warren, 1876. Print.
Koeppel, Gerard T. Bond of Union: Building the Erie Canal and the American Empire. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2009. Print.
Larkin, Daniel F. "Essay About the Erie Canal." Erie Canal Time Machine: The Railroads and New York's Canals. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
Seelye, John D. 'Rational Exultation': The Erie Canal Celebration. Worcester, MA: American Antiquarian Society, 1985. Print.
Shaw, Ronald E. Erie Water West; a History of the Erie Canal, 1792-1854. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1966. Print.
Sheriff, Carol. The Artificial River. Place of Publication Not Identified: Farrar, 1996. Print.
Watkins, Thayer. "The Economic History of the Erie Canal." The Economic History of the Erie Canal. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
Woodcock, Thomas S. The Journal of Thomas S. Woodcock (1836): n. pag. Web.



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